GUWAHATI, Nov 27 � The Sualkuchi Tat Silpa Unnayan Samiti (Unnayan Samiti) has demanded a special package from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to develop the around 700-year-old silk industry of Sualkuchi. The Prime Minister should declare this package during his ensuing visit to the State, the Samiti said.
Talking to this correspondent, Unnayan Samiti general secretary Hiralal Kalita said that on November 7 this year, the Prime Minister announced a Rs 2,375-crore package for 16 sick cooperative banks to make loans easily available for the Varanasi weavers. The Prime Minister was addressing a function after laying the foundation stone of a Rs 150-crore trade facilitation centre and crafts museum for weavers at Lalpur on the outskirts of Varanasi.
If that can be done for Varanasi silk industry, the Prime Minister should commit much more to help the centuries-old Sualkuchi silk industry, Kalita said.
Compared to Sualkuchi, Varanasi is a new entrant in the arena of silk industry. The indigenous designs of Sualkuchi are unique and highly valued by the buyers of the rich countries.
Sualkuchi today needs to be developed as an export-oriented silk industry centre. Its muga clothes and pat (mulberry silk) clothes have the potential to emerge as the much sought-after items in foreign markets because of their exquisite texture and designs.
Sualkuchi deserves a big package. Its handlooms should be developed, it should be provided with a comprehensive computerised dying unit, a textile design institute, a yarn bank and an export centre with all modern amenities, like a modern guest house for the visitors from the rest of the country and abroad and special public distribution system, health care scheme, pension scheme, etc., for its weavers, Kalita said.
The attires prepared by the factories of other parts of the country with the silk fabrics produced by the Sualkuchi weavers are very much popular in countries like Japan, Kalita claimed.
Stumbling upon the skills of the Sualkuchi weavers, former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam suggested during his visit to Sualkuchi in 2006 that Sualkuchi should be developed as a cluster of localities in which each of its localities would produce one exquisite muga item that could be exported to rich countries like Japan. But that suggestion of the former President of India is still on hold, Kalita said with remorse.